Tag Archives: prayer

Lift up Jesus – John 12:32

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32 (NIV)

Please pray for me, that I may have both spiritual and physical strength to perform my duties;that I may not only speak the truth but become the truth; that I may not only be called a Christian, but also live like a Christian.
Yet I do not want people to look to me as an example, for at best I can only be a pale reflection of Christ Jesus; let people look away from the reflection and turn to the reality. Christianity is not a matter of persuading people of particular ideas, but of inviting them to share in the greatness of Christ.
So pray that I may never fall into the trap of impressing people with clever speech, but instead I may learn to speak with humility, desiring only to impress people with Christ himself.
- Ignatius of Antioch, 35-108 A. D.

More on Igantius here.


B90X Jan 3, 2012 “Something about Job”

Some people don’t like Job.  Yes, its true.  I have heard them say it.  So this blog will hopefully clear up something about the complexity of the book.

Overwhelmed by suffering, Job was not comforted, but condemned by his friends.  Each of their views represents a well-known way to understand suffering.  God proves that each explanation given by Job’s friends has less than the whole answer.

First, let me say that reading through the Bible Chronologically is going to be very cool.  Already, after jumping from Genesis 11 to Job 1 there was a mercurial excitement, not the predictable sameness we are so used to when beginning the Pentateuch.

Men with profound erudition have been able to boil down the seemingly endless prolix narrative of Job.  It all just gets jumbled and pointless after awhile, so let me share a little something I came across:

The only way any of Job’s friends help is by silencing their diatribes for seven days.  Allowing Job to have plenty of time to think through his mourning and crank up the pity-party.

Eliphaz explains Job’s pain by intimating that his suffering is because he sinned. His advice to Job is to go to God and lay his cause before God (5:8).  Job retorts with demands that Eliphaz take back his accusations (6:29).  In the end, God rebukes Eliphaz (42:7).

Bildad thinks that Job is hiding his sin and won’t admit it, so Job must suffer.  He encourages Job to give up and confess (8:2).  Bildad wants Job to confront God and ask what charges God has against Job (10:2).  Like Eliphaz, God rebukes Bildad (42:7).

Zophar is the more Pharisaical, religious one, he thinks Job deserves even more suffering than he has already experienced.  He advices Job to get rid of his sins (11:13, 14).  Job stands firm and doesn’t fall into Zophar’s super-pious hubris, and knows that he will be justified (13:18).  He too is lumped with Job’s other friends who have no valuable advise (42:7).

The youngster, Elihu, is the only one who gets close to getting it right, albeit wrong.  He thinks God is using the suffering to mold and train Job.  He is just a bit off, yet instructs Job to be silent and he will be taught wisdom (33:33).  Because God doesn’t deal directly with Elihu, we are left to wonder if his analysis is correct.

In the end, we hear from God himself.  Job is confronted by God and is told to be content without knowing why he is suffering.  There is no reason given for the suffering and asks Job how long he wants to argue with the Almighty (40:2).  Job realizes he was talking about things he did  not understand (42:3-5).

My Grandfather, Richard L. Williams, spoke to CRBC today.

I never had the privilege of meeting my grandfather, he passed away before I was born.  Based on family stories, it is my loss that this meeting never happened.  He was an Aussie who moved his family to the States.  He pastored churches in Mason City, IA and El Paso, TX. The portrait taken on the left was from the family home in Iowa in 1948.

Some of my greatest treasures are his books which have been passed on to me. To this day, I can open one of them and find an old bookmark, old postcard, note, scribble, bits of trash, flattened leaves, even old sermons. One day several years ago, a decent sized sheet of paper fell out of one his books. I have no idea when the document was written. The yellow paper carries ink from an old fountain pen. You know the type, when the ink runs dry the sharp tip digs into the paper. Of the 427 words handwritten on the note there is only one scribble, if it can even be called that, and one misspelled word. We just don’t possess these kinds of handwriting skills today.  Albeit blurry, this picture shows how cool and special this treasure is.
What is more important to the person who wrote it, the possible date of writing, and the difficulty in reading the scrawl, is the nature of the note.  It was written at the end of a calendar year for a meeting of some sort to remember the past and think about the future.  It is a New Years Prayer.   The language is King Jamesian, vocabulary is persuasive, and the structure poetic.

My sermon was all finished for today.  Handout was done.  Powerpoint presentation all locked up. Everything was all done, I was praying, and just chillin’ before time to leave the house.   It has to be the Holy Spirit because I don’t recall things like this.  Since the first Sunday of 2012 is the first of January, it seemed appropriate to find this prayer, refamiliarize myself with it, and see how pertinent it is to us today.

It is as if the words were written for Castle Rock Bible Church personally and specifically.    From the portals of heaven, a significant member of the great cloud of witnesses spoke to us today.  His prayer and blessing is indefatigable and irresistible.  Here it is:

Everlasting God, as we pause on the threshold of time we are reminded of thy abiding presence and guiding hand throughout the year that is drawing to a close.  In all our ways, in times of prosperity and adversity, in days of gladness and sorrow, in the hour of loss and partings, of abundance and in need, thou hast been a well proven help and a garrison of strength.  As we look into the future, let no fears assail us.  Help us to be as confident that thou wilt be with us in the future as we know thou hast been in the past.  Thou canst equip us for the tasks and the duties that are ours, that we may do our utmost and quit ourselves like new.

May we who are pilgrims, conscious of life’s varying scenes, learn by faith, our Father, to obey thee.

We know that thou wilt lead us on through all the tomorrows as thou hast lead us through the yesterdays.

We know that thou wilt not let us go, even when we in willful neglect and indulgence, try to meander from thy way.

As we set our faces toward the New Year, we know full well that it will bring many changes.  The old must give place to the new.  Time does not stand still, nor will the world cease from turning.  Wilt thou give to us the courage and fortitude of mature men and women that will enable us to stand upon our faith, as the spirit of the living Lord will give us strength.

May the convictions that we hold be the strongholds of our lives and in the time of trouble and stress demonstrate that we can be more than conquerors through Him who has loved us.  Indeed may the days of the future teach us above everything else that neither death, nor life, nor things present nor things future, nor powers, nor any exalted thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We long for thy guidance for this congregation as it faces the new year under new leadership.  God direct and indwell every effort that will be made to glorify and establish the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We thank thee for the ongoing witness that has been shared in thy name and for the promise of the master.

Lo I am with you always-  Proper the cause of righteousness that thy name may be known among all nations.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Thank you for blessing us today Gramps!  I can’t wait to meet you.


Persecution in the U.S.? Hardly compared to Iran. Please read.

Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is in prison in Iran for apostasy.  He is scheduled to be executed for not adhering to Islamic law, unless he recants his faith in Jesus Christ, he will be the first Christian executed in Iran since 1990. 

This is outrageous.  You can do something to stop it.  Presently a stay of execution has been ordered.  However, more pressure must  be put on the Iranian government in order to keep our brother in Christ alive doing what he was built for.  Please make your voice heard, both in Congress and before the throne of our Heavenly Father.

A Washington Post article concerning this situation can be found here.
Congressman John Boehner issued the following statement here.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has this article regarding Pastor Youcef.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback tweeted the following message: IRAN:Pastor Yousef #Nadarkhani is about to be executed for his faith.Please protest this! http://bit.ly/mQ0FDv

The following letter was written by Pastor Yousef Nadarkhanito his church in June 2010.  It was translated from Farsi to English.  Simultaneously, my heart was encouraged and distraught.  Encouraged because I believe in a big God who wants his word preached in such a dark place.  Encouraged because we can have a part in the saving of a life for the Kingdom.  Distraught because of the wickedness that dwells on our planet.  Distraught at how easy folks fall away in the U.S.A. from Christ, church, family, and relationships for much, much less compared to this.  Help us Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, Salam

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am continuously seeking grace and mercy to you, that you remember me and those who are bearing efforts for his name in your prayers. Your loyalty to God is the cause of my strength and encouragement.

For I know well that you will be rewarded; as it’s stated: blessed is the one who has faith, for what has been said to him by God, will be carried out. As we believe, heaven and earth will fade but his word will still remain.

Dear beloved ones, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few verses, although you might know them, So that in everything, you give more effort than the past, both to prove your election, and for the sake of Gospel that is to be preached to the entire world as well.

I know that not all of us are granted to keep this word, but to those who are granted this power and this revelation, I announce the same as Jude, earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.

We are passing by special and sensitive days.They are days that for an alert and awake believer can be days of spiritual growth and progress. Because for him, more than any other time there is the possibility to compare his faith with the word of God, have God’s promises in mind, and survey his faith.

Therefore he (the true believer) does not need to wonder for the fiery trial that has been set on for him as though it were something unusual, but it pleases him to participate in Christ’s suffering. Because the believer knows he will rejoice in his glory.

Dears, the “ judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

Therefore those who are enduring burdens by the will of God, commit their souls to the faithful Creator. Promises that he has given us, are unique and precious. As we’ve heard he has said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”

How can it be possible for a believer to understand these words?

Not only when he is focusing on Jesus Christ with adapting his life according to the life Jesus lived when he was on earth? As it is said ” O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”

Have we not read and heard: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Many attempt to flee from their spiritual tests, and they have to face those same tests in a more difficult manner, because no one will be victorious by escaping from them, but with patience and humility he will be able to overcome all the tests, and gain victory.

Therefore in the place of Christ’s followers, we must not feel desperate, but we have to pray to God in supplication with more passion to help us with any assistance we may need.

According to what Paul has said: In every temptation, God himself will make a way for us to tolerate it.

O beloved ones, difficulties do not weaken mankind, but they reveal the true human nature.

It will be good for us to occasionally face persecutions and abnormalities, since these abnormalities will persuade us to search our hearts, and to survey ourselves. So as a result, we conclude that troubles are difficult, but usually good and useful to build us.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must be more careful than any other time. Because in these days, the hearts and thoughts of many are revealed, so that the faith is tested. May your treasure be where there is no moth and rust.

I would like to remind you of some verses that we nearly discuss everyday, (Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.) but as long as our human will has priority over God’s will, his will will not be done.

As we have learned from him in Gethsemane, he surrendered his will to the father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

What we are bearing today, is a difficult but not unbearable situation, because neither he has tested us more than our faith and our endurance, nor does he do as such. And as we have known from before, we must beware not to fail, but to advance in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, And consider these bumps and prisons as opportunities to testify to his name. He said: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

As a small servant, necessarily in prison to carry out what I must do, I say with faith in the word of God that he will come soon.”However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Discipline yourself with faith in the word of God. Retain your souls with patience. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly.

May you are granted grace and blessings increasingly in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.

Yusef Nadarkhani
Lakan Prison in Rasht
2/June/2010

God to Intercessors: Just Stop Saying “Just”

I was praying at the hospital last evening.  In my prayer, I caught myself using the word “just” in the language of my prayer.  This distracted me.  On my drive home, I wondered what the use of this word said about my theology of prayer.  Was it a nervous tick?  Is it a response to rote-ness?  Am I really saying “this is the only thing I was wanting done or petitioning?”  Obviously it has caused me to think about prayer, Father’s heart, my heart, and how the three function synergistically.

Interesting how our heavenly Father works.  I “just” came across this article on a website that discusses this very idea.  You have to love the humor of the Sovereign One.    I am reposting it for your reading and ruminating pleasure. 

Friday Funny: God Tells Prayer-Warriors to Stop Saying “Just”

By on Sep 16, 2011 in Friday Funny

Some lighthearted fun from the Holy Observer today. (This post was written in 2004, and the movie mentioned is The Passion of the Christ.)

God to Intercessors: Just Stop Saying “Just”
Linguistic grace no longer applicable to mutually exclusive prayer requests

For decades, God has lavished his followers with linguistic grace regarding what could be considered an epidemic in the prayer world – the use of the word “just.” Usually found in a pattern similar to “God, please just [insert petition] and just [insert another petition],” the word “just” has made answering prayers a confusing and tedious process for the Almighty. In response, God declared earlier this month that Christians everywhere may no longer use the word “just” during intercessory prayer, effective immediately.

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